Greece: A Timeless Odyssey of Splendor
Whispered tales of gods and goddesses, the ethereal shimmer of azure waters against whitewashed abodes, and a tapestry of history that unfurls across millennia - Greece is not just a destination; it's an emotion, an awakening of the soul. Every corner of this age-old land promises an enchantment that's hard to resist.
In the heart of the Aegean, the Cyclades beckon with their minimalist elegance. Further southeast, the Dodecanese islands have tales as old as time. Crete, the cradle of Minoan civilization, is a tapestry of splendid beaches, majestic mountains, and myths. The Peloponnese, where ancient Olympia, Sparta, and Mycenae whisper legends of old and across the cerulean waters, the Ionian Islands captivate with their Venetian flair.
All of these fabulous destinations offer innumerable accommodations possibilities. We have searched and selected only the best boutique hotels in Greece, wonderful small luxury hotels and guest houses, romantic B&Bs as well as luxurious villas and cool vacation rentals. Take a look at the best places to stay in Greece.
If you have an idea of the type of trip you are looking for, our collection of small hotels and villas in Greece will help you find some of the nicest:
We have divided Spain into 3 small chapters:
* Where to go and where to stay in the Cyclades, Sporades, Dodecanese Islands and Crete
* Where to go and where to stay in the Peloponnese and Ionian Islands
* Where to go and where to stay in Mainland Greece
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Best places to stay in Peloponnese and Ionian Islands?
The Peloponnese is a region located in southern Greece that offers a variety of amazing natural landscapes. From the mountains of Mount Taigeto and Mount Parnon to the beautiful beaches along its coast, such as Voidokilia in Messinia and Elafonisos in Lakonia. The remote Mani Peninsula, known for its spectacular gorges, Byzantine ruins and beaches, also stands out.
In Arcadia, in the southern Peloponnese, you'll find a wide variety of places to enjoy a beach holiday, such as Kalamata, which combines the sea with an urban atmosphere, and the romantic town of Nafplio. However, the most beautiful beach in the Peloponnese is considered to be Voidokilia, located 7 km from Pylos.
In the Ionian Sea, off the west coast of Greece, lie the Ionian Islands. These islands are known for their lush green nature and beautiful beaches with emerald waters. The six main islands are: Antipaxoi, Corfu, Ithaca, Lefkada, Kefalonia, Paxi and Zakyntos. The seventh island, Kythira, is located at the southern tip of the Peloponnese, although it is not officially part of the Ionian Islands. However, Kythira is easily accessible by ferry from the mainland, with the possibility of bringing a car.
Best places to stay in Mainland Greece
Mainland Greece offers an incomparable experience for history enthusiasts. It is the geographical and symbolic heart of ancient Greece, as well as modern Greece.
Let's start with Athens where you can find beautiful luxury hotels with the latest design, as well as charming B&Bs not far from the Parthenon. This city of contrasts and deeply Mediterranean, harmoniously associates numerous archaeological remains of the ancient classical civilisation with the modernity of today. From here we can visit Thessaly, which is only a few hours from Athens, and explore the beautiful town of Kalambaka or Kastraki, located at the foot of the imposing mountains where the monasteries stand. If you're looking for a beach holiday, the Pelion peninsula in Thessaly is the ideal destination, its lush coastline with charming villas and flats to stay in, rivalling the most famous destinations.
The town of Volos is the perfect starting point for exploring the peninsula. In the north lies Macedonia, a vast area offering great diversity. Thessaloniki, the country's second largest city, is perfect for a different kind of city break. To the east, Halkidiki, made up of three peninsulas (Cassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos), stretches out into the Aegean Sea with its many charming hotels on the beaches and in the bays along 500km of coastline. There is something for everyone, from lively beaches to quiet coves where you can enjoy the serenity serenity in holiday cottages or beach hotels. If you want to combine sea, mountains and mythology in your holiday, we recommend staying in Litohoro, a small town along the north-eastern coast of mainland Greece, near the eastern slopes of Mount Olympus. Thrace, located in the northeast of mainland Greece and sharing borders with Bulgaria and Turkey, is a remote region with a unique frontier atmosphere and beautiful rural hotels in the countryside and on the beach with a style all of their own. Although it does not represent the typical postcard image of Greece, Thrace offers a multicultural identity forged over many centuries by the influence of various empires and migration flows. It is a recommended destination for curious travellers in search of unusual and multicultural places. The Evros River Delta and the Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli National Park are outstanding destinations in this region.
Travelling in Greece, important information and gastronomy
When visiting Greece, it is important to bear in mind some practicalities. Winds, especially on the islands, can be strong and affect ferry travel and flights. Organising ferry routes can be tricky, as you often search by the name of the destination port rather than the name of the island. If you plan to hire a car, be aware that sometimes you're not allowed to take it on the ferry and that car rental prices on the islands can be higher than on the mainland.
Fortunately, there are several ferry companies that offer services between the Greek islands, and it is possible to buy tickets in advance via these companies' websites or specialised ferry sites. However, there are also routes operated by smaller boats that are not sold on the big websites. Flying can be a convenient option if you want to save time travelling between the islands or if you'd rather avoid the potential inconvenience caused by high winds. However, ferries remain a popular and scenic way to travel around the Greek islands, providing an opportunity to enjoy the seascape.
If you plan to visit Greece during the low season, be aware that some tourist areas may have fewer restaurants and shops open. Some places may seem desolate compared to the high season. In this case, it is advisable to explore areas that do not rely exclusively on beach tourism, as you are more likely to find open restaurant and shopping options.
In terms of signs, roads and restaurant menus are generally in two languages: Greek and English. However, if you venture to lesser-known or less touristy places, it may be useful to have a translation app on your phone to help you figure out the Greek alphabet and communicate better.
It's important to note that some Greek beaches have pebbles instead of sand, so it's advisable to wear shoes suitable for walking on them, as it can be difficult to walk or enter the water without them.
Although Greeks may appear serious as you walk down the street, they are known for their friendliness and hospitality. They may surprise you with a big smile and make you feel welcomed.
In summary, when visiting Greece, consider the flight and ferry options according to your time and comfort preferences. Explore both tourist areas and lesser-known areas, bring a translation app for easier communication and make sure to bring appropriate footwear for the pebble beaches. Enjoy the natural beauty and Greek hospitality during your trip, as well as the delicious local cuisine.
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